Thursday, May 28, 2015

DIY It - An Industrial Vanity Light

As I promised yesterday in my post about my guest bathroom's black and white tribal ceiling post, today I am going to show you the vanity and the DIY industrial light fixture I made.

To make my light, I purchase supplies from Color Cord. I went with a mint cord because I thought it would play nicely off of the starkness of the black and white. Here is a list of the items I purchased from Color Cord.

  • 1 - 5 Port ceiling canopy - $50
  • 5 - Grounded porcelain sockets - $6 each
  • 5 - Flat top matte black metal socket covers - $5 each
  • 30 - Feet of mint fabric wire by the foot - $1.50 per foot
  • 5 - Barrel cord grip/strain relief black - $0.58 each
Then I purchased my black pipe and fittings from Home Depot. I used the following.

  • 2 - 3/4" Black floor flange - $5.67 each
  • 2 - 3/4" Black 90 deg elbow - $2.07 each
  • 2 - 3/4"  by 4" Black nipple - $1.86 each
  • 1 - 3/4" by 48" Black pipe that I had cut down to the width of the vanity minus 3" to account for the flange width  - $12.76
 Total Cost of project (not including light bulbs which I already had) - $184.86 plus tax and shipping

Before I move forward to how I assembled my light, I want to say that this post is not an instruction manual, only a recounting of how I assembled my light, but please consult an electrician before you attempt your own DIY light fixture. If you do not feel comfortable doing wiring, you can purchase all ready assembled cord kits from Color Cord that either plug in, or can be hardwired by an electrician.

The first thing I needed to do was create my 5 light pendants. To do this, I used electrical tape to divide my mint cord into five pieces and then cut through the electrical tape using wire cutters/scissors. The tape helped to keep the mint cord cover from fraying. To make each pendant, I took one of the cords and pulled the mint cord cover back slightly to expose the wire. Then I carefully stripped away the white to expose the three wires.

Next, I used my wire strippers to cutaway the covering of each wire about a half and inch.

Now it was time to attach the wires to the socket. The black live wire went to the gold screw, the green ground wire to the green screw, and the white neutral wire to the silver screw. Like so.

Next it was time to slip on the cap, black socket cover, and cord strain relief.

To attach the metal socket top to the socket, you used two screws that went up through the bottom of the socket in the holes you can see here.

Then a little screw went in the side of the top portion of the metal socket top to help secure the cord (I forgot to take a picture of this). Then the black socket cover slips on and the black cord strain relief screws into the metal socket top through the black cover.

A little black plastic screw goes into that hole on the top side of the strain relief to secure the cord and not let the weight of the bulb and socket pull to heavily on the cord. Now do this 4 more times and you will have all of your pendant cords ready. Next it is time to thread the cords through the canopy.

And cut the wire ends and strip each wire like we did at the beginning.

Now it is time to install the fixture to the wall. The black wires all go to the black wire in the wall, the whites to the white, and the green to the green/uncoated wire. Use wire nuts to secure all the wires together. Again, I don't have a photo of this step, because it is hard to hold all the cords and take a picture, but if you have questions, please consult an electrician.

Once the light was installed, I assembled my pipe and fittings and mounted it on the wall where I wanted it to go using a level to make sure it was straight and mollies to secure it to the wall. 

The final step was just to wrap the cords around the pipe in a pattern that looked good and add the light bulbs. I tried using vintage Edison bulbs, but since this is the only light in this bathroom, it just wasn't bright enough. Oh well, I still like the traditional halogen bulbs, and using the bulbs I already had versus the Edison ones saved me $50.

I love the way the fixture looks in here with the ceiling and mirror. It is hard to get a good picture since this bathroom is down a dark hallway by the garage, and no natural light gets in here, so taking a picture with the lights off  so that you can see the fixture is quite the challenge. But hopefully you can see it well enough. 

My next plans for this bathroom are to put walnut wood shelves with gold painted Ikea brackets over the toilet where those picture frames are now, and then hopefully switch out the vanity and sink with ones from Ikea and redo the tile floor. But for now, this bathroom looks much better than it did when we moved in.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Gallery Wall Wednesday - A Black and White Tribal Feature Ceiling

So this week I am again staying slightly in the line of a gallery/feature wall, but this time it is more of a feature ceiling. I was inspired by a number of awesome black and white tiles Such as these awesome ones:

Photo: Capree Kimball

I knew that a full on bathroom makeover including tile was not in the near future for my guest bathroom, but I still couldn't shake the idea of an awesome black and white look for the space. That is when I had the most awesome idea. Why not use vinyl to create a similar look on my ceiling? I had seen other vinyl decals used on a ceiling, but mostly they were just small images around a fan. Why has no one made a feature ceiling using vinyl like they would a feature wall?! That is when I sprung into action. The first thing I did was paint the ceiling and walls. The ceiling went black and the walls went white. Here are a few photos of the ceiling and walls in painting process.

Guest Bathroom Before from our houses MLS photos - Photo by Twisted Tours

Guest bathroom after painting

I loved the look of the black ceiling and contemplated leaving that way. The white walls and black ceiling really opened up the space and made the room feel so much bigger, but I already had the vinyl so I decided to proceed with my plan.

The first thing was to decide on an image for the ceiling. I wanted something tribal yet easy to apply like a sticker. I didn't want to have to fill the entire ceiling with vinyl, so the pattern image had to be one that looked good spread out. I decided on a fairly simple stacked rectangle design. Next I used my vinyl cutter and some matte white vinyl to cut out my image. Then all it took was peeling the designs off the vinyl sheet and applying them to the ceiling.

 Where the vinyl overlapped the air vent and exhaust, I used an X-Acto knife to cut the vinyl around the plate to remove the overlapping vinyl. I also did this on the sides where the ceiling met the walls.

Cutting and applying the vinyl took about an hour, and the cost was nothing since I already had the vinyl and cutter. But if you were going to replicate this with a purchased precut vinyl design (depending on the size of your ceiling), it shouldn't be more than $100. And if you have a vinyl cutter like a Silhouette Cameo or Cricut, you could spend much less for just the vinyl (about $25). But seriously it is a deal either way, and just look how awesome it is!

In this above photo you can see a sneak peek of the DIY industrial bathroom light fixture that I will show you in tomorrows post along with another view of this space. But for now, here is the final before and after of this part of my guest bathroom transformation. What a difference some paint and vinyl can make!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Landscape It - Adding Curb Appeal with Native Plants and Rocks

It has been a couple weeks since I last went into details about our front yard landscaping project. You can read more about it here and here. The last time I mentioned the front yard, we had just finished laying the edging and putting in plants and mulch around the top of our yard near the house and the pathway to our front door.

As I have mentioned this project has taken an exceptional amount of time for us due to all the rain we have had this month. It has left little time to work outside, but in the last week we were finally able to purchase and plant some native plants for the bottom planting bed next to the sidewalk as well as get the basalt stone delivered and placed around the plants. Here is a before view of the space.

And here it is after tilling with the landscape edging installed.

The first thing we did was purchase our plants. As I mentioned in the previous post, I wanted to go with native, drought resistant plants. I ended up choosing some of the following: Blue Agave, Red Yucca, Mexican Feather Grass, cold hardy succulents, a perennial pink Salvia, and some other native perennial that has yellow flowers. Once the plants were home, I laid them out in the pattern that I wanted while making sure to leave enough space for them to grow to their full height and width without getting overcrowded. Then came the planting.

Once the plants were all in, my husband and I decided to use blue painters tarp instead of landscape fabric to create a barrier between the soil and the rocks so that potential grass and weeds would hopefully be unable to sprout up. In previous landscape projects in both our front yard and backyard we have tried several methods to control the weeds and grass growth in our rock beds. The method that seems to have worked the best so far (we have still yet to see how the tarp holds up) was to till the area and let all the plant life die out, then to sprinkle corn meal gluten on the ground to prevent any seeds from germinating. Next we covered that area with cardboard and then commercial grade landscape fabric. Finally our decomposed granite was put on top. You would think with all that work and money, nothing would have been able to grow, but unfortunately there were a few weeds and grasses that have been able to get through all of those barriers. So this time, we decided to try plastic tarps (and can you believe they were substantially cheaper) and see if they would be able to keep the weeds at bay. I am sure our neighbors thought we were crazy after seeing this bright blue going in.

As we laid down the tarp, we secured it with metal landscaping stakes and were cut holes in the tarp for the plants to fit through. Here is the landscaping bed with all the plants and the tarp installed.

Next came the basalt stone (aka Texas Black). We had three yards of it delivered and we spent about an hour or two shoveling and hauling the rock into place around the plants. I wasn't sure how the rock would cover the blue tarp, but surprisingly it worked really well. You can't even see the blue, even where there is a steep slope the rock is staying in place.

So there we have it we have finished the upper landscaping bed with native plants and mulch and the lower landscaping bed with native plants and basalt. The only thing left is to work on the new pathway from the lower sidewalk to our house. We hope to get large 2' by 4' sawn limestone pavers put in with the rest of the basalt around them sort of like this design from Austin Outdoor Design.

We just have to figure out how to get these large stones to our house and installed since the rock yard doesn't deliver them and they weigh around 220 pounds each! Looks like we may be reaching out to some friends for some muscle help. With that said, I will be sure to share the finished project with you just as soon as the walkway is completed. But so far I am liking how the yard is turning out and I think after all is said and done, we will only have spent a little over $1000 on a project that would have cost close to $8000 to have professionally done (at least that is the quote I got for a similar front yard project last summer). So glad we DIY'ed this!